Bermuda Grass Lawn Care

About Bermuda Grass 
Here I'll share the best practices for Bermuda grass lawn care. No lawn is the same since the soil conditions, climate and terrain's can all differ. You may therefore need to adjust these Bermuda grass care practices a little to suit your own lawn. 
Bermuda grass is one of the most commonly used lawn grass all over the world, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical regions. This grass will virtually grow and grow quite rapidly on any soil type as long as there is enough sunlight and drainage. Another characteristic of Bermuda grass is that it is quite drought resistant and also can recover itself quickly from damages. 
Therefore this grass is also commonly used in high traffic areas. The only negative about the grass is, it can not grow well in shades and therefore not quite suitable for shady lawns. 
Mowing & Watering 
However, rapid growth means that one needs to mow frequently, more so during summer time. The mowing frequency also depends on nitrogen fertilization, rainfall and irrigation. Since the grass grows rapidly and can easily invade flower beds, it requires frequent edging along walkways and driveways.  
Bermuda grass can grow both above the surface of the soil as well as below the surface. Actually this aggressive property of rapid growth that makes Bermuda grass a favorable turf grass, also makes it a weed at the same time. 
In order to get the best results, it is recommended that you keep the grass at low heights (1 to 2 inches for common Bermuda grass, less for hybrids) and mow frequently. Follow these Mowing and Watering Methods and you should have a soft and ever green Bermuda lawn. 
You should first get your soil tested through an authorized agency in your locality. This will determine the requirement of nutrients for your soil type. However if you can not get your soil tested, then use a complete fertilizer which has nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the ratio of 3:1:2. Bags of all commercial fertilizers have this ratio printed. 
March - May 
In May, apply 0.5 to 1.0 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet (roughly) three weeks after the grass turns green. Get a soil sample tested to know the phosphorus and potassium requirements. Apply lime if suggested. 
June - August 
Use the above guidelines to apply nitrogen, however in every 4 to 6 weeks time period. The interval between fertilizer applications may be increased by applying a slow-release fertilizer.  
September - November 
Apply up to 0.5 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet in September, four to six weeks before the first expected frost. Potassium can be applied if suggested by the soil tests. Use a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertilizer such as a 10-0-40 (the first number indicates Nitrogen percentage, second number is Phosphate, and third is Potassium). 
There are many types of such fertilizers available with various combinations of nutrients. When using these products, try to find one that approximates 4-1-6 ratio and also contains some iron, which will extend color into fall. Apply lime during these months if recommended by your soil test.  
December - February 
Do not fertilize Bermuda grass that is not overseeded. For overseeded Bermuda grass, apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet in December and February. If soil test has not been done, use a complete (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8). You should do soil tests every 2-3 years to find out your lawn's nutrient requirements. While submitting the soil sample for test, you should also specify your Bermuda lawn grass type. 
Check out Bermuda Fertilizers to know about the different types of Fertilizers, their use, how to maintain the soil and its PH factor and more. 
June - August 
Thatch is a collection of dead plant matters. Unless it becomes thick enough (like 0.5 inches) when the Bermuda roots start growing in them, it is usually not a problem. However thatches should be removed every two to three years through aerification and/or dethatching. 
Early summer is the right time for cultivation since moisture is usually not limiting and growth is optimum, and soil temperature reaches around 80°F. If mowing of the grass is done correctly and consistently, then thatching doesn't usually pose a threat. 
Aerification is a great way to increase the flow of air, water and nutrients into the root areas of Bermuda grass. If the thatches do not get removed after aerification, then mow at the correct height and remove the dead top, and then rake the lawn thoroughly with a metal tined leaf rake to remove the thatch. If you are unwilling to take up this cumbersome physical work, then you can also use Lazyman liquid de-thatcher to ensure that excess thatch does not accumulate on the soil. 
If the thickness of the thatch is more than .5 inch (which can happen in case of Hybrid Bermuda Grass), then you can make use of a vertical mower or a de-thatcher that you can rent from a local store. However you will need to use it very carefully as it can also remove the top soil unless used properly. 
Weed Control 
Prevention is always better than cure. And the best prevention method to stop weeds affecting your Bermuda lawn is to properly fertilize, water and mow the lawn on an ongoing basis. However if you wake up to a situation where your lawn is already affected by weeds, then herbicide application would be the way to go. 
But there are different types of herbicides including pre and post emergent ones, and the application method depends on the time of the year. check out Bermuda weed Control for complete guide on keeping your Bermuda lawn free of weeds. 
Disease Control 
March - May 
If you notice small circular (1 to 3-inch in diameter), shaded, straw-colored spots in your lawn several weeks since the lawn has become green, it is likely an indicator of the dollar spot disease. Larger dead spots (1 to 3 feet in diameter) that appear during spring greenup indicate the presence of spring dead spot. Dry soil moisture conditions is one of the main reasons for dollar spot disease. When adequate soil moisture is provided, dollar spot is rarely a problem. Low nitrogen also favors this disease development. 
September - November 
Some diseases such as spring dead spot can be active in the fall although there are no symptoms visible. If your lawn has a history of spring dead spot, applying fungicides during fall may be helpful.  
Insect Control 
July - August 
While Bermuda Grass can handle most of the insects, there are some that eat the leaf blades and the roots voraciously. There are varieties of insects that can attack the Bermuda grass including crickets, beetles, grasshopper, warms, and many other types. The first symptom would be a brown patch in your lawn. However look for other causes before you start treating it for insects. 
If the problem persists and increases with time, then apply soil insecticides that are approved for Bermuda grass. Another way is to use the natural product Milky Spore. Although the second method may not kill all the insects, but the spores remain active for many years and therefore are effective in long term. Insecticides should be ideally applied once in a year. 
March - August 
You can replant large bare areas with sod or plugs of 6 or 12-inch size. You can also apply a pre-emergence herbicide to control weed encroachment. However you need to ensure that the herbicide does not impact the root growth after plugging. During this time Common Bermuda grass can be seeded at 0.5 to 1 pound per thousand square feet. Seeding in spring or early summer will make the winter Bermuda grass seedlings much healthier. 
Related Articles 
1) Check out Bermuda Grass for a complete guide on Bermuda Grass and Lawn Care. 
Viewers' Reviews & Comments 
Leonard Alvarez (October 2015) 
Hello, I have a large beautiful green Bermuda lawn. However when I cut it, usually once a week there will some areas that are brown. These areas turn green after a few days when the grass returns to its height before I cut it. The grass is about 5 to 6 inches in height. Any ideas? 
Raj ( October 2015 
Hi, it can happen in certain situations. The bottom most part of the grass (the crown) is usually brown, the stem too is brownish while the blade is green. If you cut more than one third of the grass, the brown part would be exposed but will become green when it grows in few days. Usually Bermuda grass is kept at a height of about 2 inches (and not 5-6 inches). The usual practice is to cut it (i.e. mow it) by one third when the grass grows to about 3 inches. If you follow this practice, you won't likely see the brown patch when you cut the grass.